Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan hopes he’ll be able to get Jonathan Banks to reprise his role as the stoic fixer Mike Ehrmantraut on the hit show’s upcoming spin-off, Better Call Saul. The new show will center around Saul Goodman, the shady criminal lawyer played by Bob Odenkirk, and in a recent interview with EW, Gilligan mentioned Mike as a perfect fit for the show: “That would be a great deal of fun,” he said. “I would say the sky’s the limit, at least theoretically speaking.”
Realistically though, as Gilligan pointed out, getting Banks – or any other character from the Breaking Bad universe – to return for an extended stint on Better Call Saul might prove difficult considering the cast’s increased profiles and busier schedules now that Breaking Bad has ended.
“They’re off making big movies and doing Broadway plays and whatnot, and that’s exactly the way it should be,” Gilligan said. “That is a high-class problem that we will have to contend with as we go forward with Better Call Saul, if we do indeed want to touch base with some of these characters.”
Gilligan will helm Better Call Saul alongside writer-director Peter Gould, and the two were considering making the show a half-hour sitcom before ultimately settling on an hour long show that will try to be about 75-percent comedy, 25-percent drama. The show will also be a prequel of sorts to Breaking Bad, set before Goodman teams up with Walter White. That means it would take some especially clever story crafting to work Bryan Cranston’s meth mastermind into the show, but Gilligan seems open to any and all possibilities. “Better Call Saul could be The Love Boat of its generation,” he joked, “where instead of Milton Berle showing up in a sailor’s cap, hopefully it could be Aaron Paul, also in a sailor’s cap.”
Still, Gilligan recognizes where Breaking Bad had to end and Better Call Saul must begin, saying, “It will be Saul Goodman’s world, it won’t be Walter White’s, and it will have a different feel, even though there will be some overlap on the Venn Diagram that exists between Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. But it will have to succeed on its own terms as its own show. If it doesn’t, it won’t be satisfying, and satisfaction is the key word. We want to satisfy.”
While there’s no set premiere date for Better Call Saul, its star has been quite busy since Breaking Bad wrapped up: Odenkirk recently re-teamed with his Mr. Show co-creator (and Arrested Development star) David Cross to publish the book, Hollywood Said No!, which consists of two rejected film scripts they wrote. The duo also hit the road for a six-date tour this fall, their first together since 2002.